August 2014 – SAUDI ARABIA – The Ministry of Health reported one death and a new case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Riyadh on Monday after a lull. The last case of the virus was reported on July 10. The latest fatality was a 74-year-old Saudi who had been undergoing treatment at a Riyadh hospital for some time. The new case involves a 72-year-old Saudi, who has a history of chronic diseases, is reported to have contracted the virus and is currently undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit (ICU) of a Riyadh hospital. There have been 722 cases of MERS-CoV in the Kingdom since June 2012, of which 299 have died. During this period, a total of 396 people recovered from the illness and 27 are still under treatment. Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih adopted several preventive measures to control the spread of the virus. Besides launching a national Kingdom-wide awareness campaign on the coronavirus in Jeddah earlier this month, he also appointed officials to handle various offices in the combat of the disease. The campaign was launched by the acting health minister in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The minister said the public awareness campaign was launched to empower the public with crucial, up-to-date information. Fakeih appointed Tariq Madani as a member of a Health Ministry team working to combat MERS-CoV in the Kingdom. The minister also sought the expertise of the WHO, the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other global bodies in the fight against the virus. In addition to designating three hospitals in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam for the treatment of the coronavirus, the minister also designated the King Abdullah Medical Complex in Jeddah a center for the treatment of MERS-CoV. Fakeih also appointed Hamad Al-Dhewalia chief executive officer (CEO) of the complex, with a view of transforming the facility into a center of learning. Aside from Saudi Arabia, MERS cases have been reported in Malaysia, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Most of those infected were somehow linked to Saudi Arabia. –Arab News